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(Don’t) trust your intuition

Hi everyone,

Hope that you’re having a great week.

Over the years I have realised that a lot of what is wise in life ends up being counterintuitive.

Nobody gets it right the first time – every time.

But there are traps in life that (unless we’re told otherwise) we all fall into and can only really learn from in hindsight.

Simply put, the obvious and seemingly natural thing to do is a mistake that people make time and time again.

Here are some common examples, which when you think about them - make sense.
 
 

You can never win an argument

 
Even the most passive amongst us know the feeling…

When tempers are running high, there is a sense that sparks are about to fly...

There is a seeming inevitability that heads are going to butt and feelings are going to fray.

Whether we are the one who is “boiling over” or it is someone else getting the gloves ready…

An argument is about to happen.

It might be politics at the family table, a "misalignment" at work or myriad other things.

But what if I told you that if a disagreement reaches the point of argument, you’ve already lost?

It is essentially a scientific fact, at this point, that arguments only serve to entrench people more in their beliefs.

So, if you hoped that putting someone to rights would change their mind about something - in reality you’ve only really made your life more difficult.

What’s more, even if you were correct, the feeling of having someone argue with you often overrides any logical “gain” you may have made.

A much more effective way of bringing someone to your thinking is to present the information to them in a way that taps into their motivations and goals.

Rather than steamrollering someone (or being steamrolled), some rhetorical gymnastics can put you in the position where you get what you want and the other person feels good about it too.

How about that for a win-win?

 

When you feel like you need to do the most, that’s when you should stop

 
How about this one…

You’ve got deadlines coming thick and fast.

You’ve not slept very well for the past month, and everything else has been getting a bit loose.

It’s Tuesday and there are three submissions to be made by the end of the week.

So, it’s time to get serious, crack out the cafetiére and pull some all-nighters to get everything done… right?

Wrong.

You’re burned out and you would benefit from giving yourself (at least!) a day to get some good sleep, exercise, and food.

Delegating some of the work and speaking to your team would be the best course of action for all concerned -- rather than putting yourself through the mixer with the blinkers on.

Without a proper recharge, you’ll be operating at 30% and decreasing until the end of the week.

Again, it’s one of those implicit habits that we experience when a certain part of our brains takes over which only serves self-sabotage.

 

Those “head in the sand” moments

 
And of course, there are those moments that we’ve all experienced at one time or another where the proverbial hits the fan.

At which point there is the propensity to stick one’s head in the sand.

The hope is that the big iceberg problem melts next time that we look.

And of course, it does not and when we look, we’re in an even worse position than the first time we looked!

We see this happen quite a bit in the legal area and as iceberg problems get closer and bigger, people find their options to get out of the way increasingly dwindle.

Here, of course, the counter-intuitive wisdom is to act quickly and decisively rather than wait until the problem becomes far more difficult to deal with down the line.

 

Don’t trust your intuition!

 
Well, not all the time.

What is the common theme amongst all these examples?

Our brains have a kind of autopilot that kicks in when we’re stressed or emotionally driven.

When this happens, “the path of least resistance”, can in many cases not be the most resourceful course of action.

In many ways, what we see as wisdom, in situations like the above, is essentially a way of overriding this autopilot and acting rationally when everyone else has lost their heads!

In my view, this is a bit of a superpower (especially as most people don’t really think about it, let alone practice it).

With this knowledge in hand, you can often see when others are on autopilot.

It can be very useful when this is the other side of a court case - for example! There are many other examples where taking that step back and taking the bigger picture view is more beneficial.

Remember, cooler heads prevail, and never lose sight of what you're really trying to get out of a situation.

Can you think of any examples that you’ve experienced?

I would love to hear from you about this. And as always, if you want to talk IP, click the button below to get in touch to organise a catch-up.

Have a great week,


Liz

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